Leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula are having a moment on meal plates all over the country. From brunch specials and bright salads to light lunches and dinner courses, fresh greens are in the spotlight for their potent nutritional profiles and rich earthly flavors. Now these leaves are migrating to the beverage menu, and flavorful green cocktail recipes are popping up at trendy bars across the country.
Why not give it a whirl? Buy the freshest local and organic leafy greens you can find, and then mix with fresh fruit juices and your favorite spirits for winning summer combinations that put a twist in cocktail hour. Each recipe makes one cocktail.
1. Kale-Cucumber Collins – Tom Collins is a classic gin highball cocktail, and this popular recipe gets a tweak in this clever combination with kale, cucumber and fresh lime juice. You’ll need a juicer for this adventure. Start by making one ounce of fresh kale juice (from ¼ pound kale). In a shaker, muddle 3-4 thick slices of cucumber. Add 1 cup ice, kale juice, 1 teaspoon agave syrup, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice and 1 ½ ounces gin. Shake well, and then strain into Tom Collins glass filled with ice. Fill to the brim with soda, and garnish with a slice of cucumber.
2. Arugula Mojito – Move over, mint. This refreshing mix harnesses the peppery punch of arugula for a lively version of the Cuban cocktail. First, make your simple syrup with arugula. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup water. Set to high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring the syrup to a rolling boil, add 1 cup arugula, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and sit for at least one hour. Strain if desired. Now you’re ready to mix. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and add 1 ½ ounces vodka, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice and 1 teaspoon arugula syrup. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice, and garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of arugula.
3. Orange Arugula Margarita – Remember that arugula simple syrup? Use it to make another summer cocktail that’s perfect for an evening celebration. In a blender, combine 1 cup of ice with 3 teaspoon arugula syrup, 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice, 1 ½ ounces silver tequila and ½ ounce orange liqueur (like Triple Sec or Grand Marnier). Blend your little heart out, then pour into a chilled margarita glass, garnish with an orange wheel and enjoy.
4. Spinach Cooler – Easy to make, this breezy frozen cocktail presents a pale green tinge with fruity island accents. In a blender, combine 1 cup ice, 1 handful of baby spinach leaves, 2 tablespoons of cream of coconut, 2 ounces light rum and ½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple. Add more ice if needed. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass, using a colorful umbrella if possible. Savor in the sunshine.